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June 10, 2009

Get Your Fil: I Need More!

A Column by Yamaha Motor Canada’s Bryan Fil

Well, after my successful first race weekend I was officially hooked. I was very happy with my performance. The only thing that frustrated me was the horsepower difference from my current bike to the newer bikes of the other front runners. When we hit the back straights, I was being left behind, and it took everything I had to push harder and carry more speed than the others into every corner to regain back that difference, only to lose it all over again down the back straight and have to repeat everything all over again. The decision was made to get a newer bike and upgrade–I needed more HP….

(more…)

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Posted @ 3:42 pm in Commuting,Racing,Sport,Technology   
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June 9, 2009

Sleep is for the weak

While we here at YMCA would love to support every racer with a fresh steed, box full of parts and accessories, and a contingency plan big enough so they can say “yes, I would like to Biggie Size my combo!” it’s just not in the budget. That said, we do our best to support as many riders as possible, in whatever ways that we can. For today’s blog, we’re spotlighting a “real world rider” and his race last weekend.

Adam Millson, a mild mannered, expert level Yamaha off-road rider sent us in a race report from this past weekend. The humerous part? There was nothing mild about his weekend. The Pontypool, ON native has been on fire ever since receiving his 2009 contract from PR Specialist, Bryan Hudgin, which  consisted of a handshake and a lanyard. Maybe next year, “Mills.”

This past weekend, Mills headed north for a CMA Harescramble in Barrie, where he piloted his 2006 YZ250 to the top step of the Expert class podium. As a privateer racer, Mills can barely afford a change of underwear following his three-hour race, let alone a PR guy, so he writes his own race reports instead. 

holeshot2
Mills’ (77) grabs the holeshot on his trusty 2006 YZ250.

It was Saturday afternoon and we were headed to the Boyle residence to shoot some wedding pictures for my brother’s wedding. Two hours later, the memory card was full and we were thirsty from all the smiling! So it’s off to the hall for dinner, of course, my speech time was getting closer so I was getting pretty nervous. Fortunately, after building up some courage with some help from friends, the speech went really well. I kept everyone laughing the whole time anyway. I ended up staying much later than planned and was counting down the hours before my race the next day. On my way out, I noticed one of my friend’s had a little too much fun and found a cozy spot to rest on the lawn.  I ended up sleeping on Rob and Kristal’s living room floor at around 2:30am. Aw, the life of a blue-collared racer….

dsc_4632
Adam’s son, Travis, is  ready to line up!

I woke up an hour late and had to walk back to the hall to get the car, drive home and have a shower. At this point I was really glad my parents had babysat for us for the evening. I loaded the bike and off I went, feeling like five hundred thousand bucks! (50%). I arrived at the race just in time for sign in (noon). The track was awesome, just like back in the day. Lined up at the far inside behind “Wojo” and watched him holeshot the Pro class, and then I pulled a famous James Stewart holeshot myself and ran away with the whole show. I felt like being sick on the last two laps but managed to hang on for the win!

sixfiftythree.

Job well done, Mills! Not everyone can get the Colton Facciotti treatment and we appreciate the effort!!

If you’re a real world Yamaha rider, like Mills, and want to send in some results and pictures of your weekend outings, send them in to danny_brault@yamaha-motor.ca and I’ll try and put them up!

DanBro

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Posted @ 12:29 pm in Dirt,Racing,Travel Stories   
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June 8, 2009

Meet and Greet: Team Toyota Yamaha OTSFF Racers

Last week we featured a video tour of the Team Toyota Yamaha OTSFF pits and rig. Today, we’re introducing you to the racers, Kevin Lacombe, Tony Kasper, and Royce McLean. It’s a pretty unique combination we have between these guys.

Lacombe, who finished on the podium in both classes last year, is obviously our flagship rider and is the most capable of taking down the green goblin, Jordan Szoke. Flanking him is Minnesota’s Tony Kasper, an accomplished racer in AMA racing and snocross, and 14-year-old phenom, Royce McLean.

Learn a little more about these racers by watching the video below …

Thanks for watching!

DanBro

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Posted @ 11:54 am in Racing,Special Events,Sport,Travel Stories   
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June 5, 2009

Cribs: Team Toyota Yamaha OTSFF (Video)

After distracting security guards with shiny things and cute puppies, Bryan Hudgin and I managed to sneak into the pits of Team Toyota Yamaha OTSFF at the opening round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championships in Calabogie, ON. Get a feel for what it’s like to be “factory” by watching the video below …

Along with our road racing team, we’ll also be following Team Toyota/Yamaha/Red Bull/Blackfoot/Fox Racing at some nationals (which kick off this weekend in Kamloops, BC), so stay tuned for some behind the scenes action from those guys as well. And if there is anything specifiic you’d like to see, hear or smell, let us know and we’ll plug it into the script.

Keep your stick on the ice!

DanBro

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Posted @ 9:39 am in Racing,Special Events,Sport,Travel Stories   
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June 3, 2009

Photo Report: Calabogie Road Race

Well, it only took 25 years and 24 days, but I finally enjoyed my first, live road race. I know, I know … I should have sealed the deal much earlier, but with my past duties at RXC, my weekends were always tied up at the MX track.

Fortunately, with this swanky new job at Yamaha Motor Canada, I had the opportunity to attend Calabogie Motorsports Park on May 24 for the opening round of the Parts Canada Superbike Championships.

The trip started out in Marmora on Sunday morning, where I was picked up by Yamaha’s PR Specialist, Bryan Hudgin, in James Stewart’s truck of choice, a Toyota Tundra. During our two and half hour journey from Marmora to Calabogie, Bryan and I exchanged stories about college, road trips (we both shared some very eventful ones from our respective stays on the CMRC National MX tour, but we’ll save those for another column), and what it all means. Deep stuff, for sure [laughs].

We arrived to the track shortly after ten o’clock and received a rather unwelcoming welcome from the front gate people. It seems that our VIP badges, Yamaha wear, and heavily labeled truck weren’t enough to warrant us access to the pits. Instead, we were asked to drive down into the gravel pits and park with the public. Nice!

Other than their staff not recognizing ‘big wigs’ 😉 when they see them, Calabogie is a welcomed addition to the series. This was only Calabogie’s second year as part of the national circuit, but will probably remain on the schedule for many years. They have an impressive facility that features a 5 km track, 5-star chalet overlooking the front straight, and pristine landscape. In my very limited knowledge of RR, I thought that the track didn’t cater to the spectators very well (I know,  it’s not MX …) but I’m sure the racers love the long and fast layout, and the many unique sections and corners.

Rather than explaining every detail of my experience, let’s take a look through some pics instead. As always, feel free to offer some feedback. Maybe share with us your first road racing experience??

052409_calabogie_nine

Quigley Down Under?
No, unfortunately, Tom Selleck didn’t make an appearance in Calabogie, but some really fast dudes did on street bikes. This section was pretty cool to watch from; it was the final corner before the finish and we saw some pretty exciting passes coming out of it. It’s kinda neat driving into the track, too. You’re driving down these back roads, in between gravel pits, feeling like you’re in the middle of nowhere, and then, all of sudden, you climb over this huge hill and see a brand new racetrack. Just neat is all….

052409_calabogie_two
New kid in the class
For 2009, we’ve partnered with Andre Laurin and his OTSFF Motorsports Group (who we also work with in snocross racing) to attack the Superbike Championships. While some pundits are skeptical regarding our new alliance/team and experience, our potential was easily visible in Calabogie. We found the podium in both classes with our veteran leader, Kevin Lacombe, and newbies, Tony Kasper, and Royce McLean, showed signs of brilliance in their first Canadian road racing debuts. And once we have more time on the all-new YZF-R1, and the riders adapt better to its new power delivery, look out!

052409_calabogie_13

The Calabogie crowd
Since this was my first road race, I really can’t really say what a good crowd is, but here’s how I normally define a good crowd at a MX race. Let’s see if Calabogie makes the grade:

1. Fans interacting with racers – check.
2. Lots of attractive girls – check.
3. Lots of attractive girls who don’t pay any attention to me – check.
4. Fans surrounding the track – check.
5. Fans eating cheeseburgers and consuming beers without shirts on – check. (And nope, for once, I actually did have a shirt on.)

052409_calabogie_four
Boy Wonder
I’ve seen a lot of young, accomplished Canadian MX riders graduate into the pro ranks far too early (I still think our system needs to be reworked) that end up falling apart because they can’t deal with the pressures of pro racing. No matter how well you do in amateur stuff, it doesn’t mean anything when you line up against the men.

However, Alberta’s Royce McLean is a little different than most of the young guns that I’ve come into contact with. The 14-year-old is a naturally gifted rider,  who also knows how to overcome the pressures and distractions as well. McLean was never shook all weekend. He ran competitive lap times and never lost composure anywhere – on or off – the track all weekend.

While he was shooting for a top-5 finish in the 600 class, McLean settled for a 7th behind veteran Steve Crevier, and fellow Yamaha supported rider, Andrew Nelson. He even signed up for the Superbike class for extra track time to work on his bike setup, and managed to finish just outside the top-10 in 11th. Not bad.

Keep an eye on this kid as he gets more track time and experience against the pros….

052409_calabogie_five
Kasper “The Ghost” and “Smiley” Nick
Two more new faces at the Canadian races and under the Yamaha tent are Minnesota’s Tony Kasper (left) and Nick Cristofaro (right). Kasper has had some good results in AMA Pro Racing, and is also a top snocross racer, while Nick, who hails from Brampton, is a former MX technician for the OTSFF team and also enjoys working out and playing soccer.

Kasper’s weekend didn’t go as planned after sliding out on his R6 in the 600 final while running fifth. His goal was to finish on the podium, as he knew that would surely make Nick smile for the first time in 2009. Just hassling you, Nick.

052409_calabogie_12

I’ll let you create the caption for this one….052409_calabogie
Good luck to Team Toyota Yamaha/OTSFF, and to everyone who will be trying to be beat them, at Round 2 in Montreal on June 11-14!

DanBro

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Posted @ 10:35 am in Racing,Special Events,Sport   
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May 26, 2009

New Kid on the Blog

Hello there, folks. My name is Danny Brault and I’m a new guy here at Yamaha Motor Canada. My official title is “Public Relations Coordinator” (fancy, eh?), and my main responsibilities are developing ad creative, writing PRs, managing race team support and sponsorships, delegating product tests and demos, and, in general, telling everyone how awesome our products are and why you should be using a Yamaha.

I like long walks in the park, the Tragically Hip, the Trailer Park Boys show and enjoying fine cuisine, like Arby’s, in my hometown of Peterborough.

In my last year with RXC, we teamed up with Destroyer Films to produce weekly online Moto Shows from each round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals. I sucked in front of the camera, but people enjoying watching regardless. Check'em out at www.racerxcanada.com.

In my last year with RXC, we teamed up with Destroyer Films to produce weekly online Moto Shows from each round of the Monster Energy MX Nationals. I sucked in front of the camera, but people enjoyed watching regardless. Check'em out at www.racerxcanada.com.

I also have a big passion for the sport of motocross. I started riding/racing dirt bikes at the age of 3 and haven’t stopped since. Racing runs deep in our family’s bloodline. Back in the `70’s, my father, Donny, raced oval track on sleds at the pro level and also some ATV stuff when he felt like it; his brother, Dougie, has been racing motocross since the early `80’s and played a major role in teaching me the finer points of racing, like cleaning air filters, sticker placement and overcoming the “fear” of jumps (which was basically berating me and calling me a a sap until I had no choice but to “go for it”). So with that, it was only natural that my younger brother, Corey, and I would be involved in some form of racing and we chose motocross.

We both steadily improved throughout our careers, but we never really took racing seriously enough to consider making a living from it. We enjoyed riding more than anything. I was fortunate enough, however, to land a position in the industry as an editor for Racer X Canada magazine and earn some free stickers and t-shirts. (My brother, meanwhile, actually wanted to make money, so he began an apprenticeship as an electrician.)

I started with RXC in the spring of 2005, right after I had graduated from Durham College with a diploma in Print Journalism, and worked with them until August 2008. It was a great experience; I met tons of good people, traveled all over North America, and got to share stories of Canadian racers in print and online. Sadly, RXC closed its doors shortly after the final Canadian National last year in Walton.

Being young and naive, I never really pictured working anywhere else. RXC was a home with a good heart, and like a child, I didn’t want to live anywhere else. Plus, my boss never gave me a curfew and let girls sleep over – but only on the weekends. I’ve never been a big believer that money brings happiness; I just wanted a job that was fun, fulfilling and something that I could feel passionate about. I had that with RXC, but with it gone, now what?

What’s that saying … when one door closes, another opens? Well, this winter, that saying couldn’t have been any more true after landing this great gig with Yamaha. Strangely enough, before I worked with RXC, and experienced the perks of free bikes and gear, Yamaha’s were the last bikes that I paid for. (I know, I know—I’m spoiled.) Obviously, a position with any manufacturer would be wonderful, but it’s even better when you already believe in their product and they have a great relationship with motocross and racing in general. 

In the classic words of Mr. Sled Talk, Chris Reid, “pull up a stump” and read on for a little background regarding my previous life with The Blue Team. The year was 2000, I was riding a 125 two-stroke at the time, and my uncle Dougie had purchased a brand new YZ426F.

The "Bro Show" on his 2005 YZ250F in the intermediate class at the Sand Del Lee Ontario Provincial. Notice the right arm nearly twisting the throttle tube right off. True aggression.

The "Bro Show" on his 2005 YZ250F in the intermediate class at the Sand Del Lee Ontario Provincial. Notice the right arm nearly twisting the throttle tube right off. True aggression.

We were riding at my parents’ home on our backyard track when my uncle offered me his 426 for a few laps… (more…)

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Posted @ 3:10 pm in Authors,Dirt,Racing   
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January 29, 2008

Good times at the Yamaha Fukuroi Test Track

Riding the same course the Yamaha MotoGP team rode the day before!

By Dave Shepherd, motorsports technical specialist, Yamaha Motor Canada

I was lucky enough to find myself recently at the Yamaha Fukuroi road track test course to test some new motorcycles.

race-team.jpg

The town of Fukuroi is one train stop down the line from Iwata, Japan, home of Yamaha Motor Company. Nestled in the hillside of Fukuroi sits this famous Yamaha test track.

Built in 1969, the Yamaha Fukuroi track (known as “FookU” to us inside the company) follows some of the older designs for its 5.8 km layout. Yamaha Fukuroi is shaped in a figure-8, similar to Suzuka Circuit (the centre of Japanese motorsports and that country’s first full-fledged racing course when it opened in 1962).

The Yamaha Fukuori test track has many trees and rails in close proximity, and not much run-off room (sand traps were unheard of in those days).

The day started out with heavy rain, and I worried that the test session might be cancelled. (Apparently, being located among the hills causes problems such as rivers forming and running over the track surface.) But by lunchtime, the sun was fierce and steam was rising from the black surface.

Engaging racetrack functions… all systems go!

The first few laps on the drying tarmac were slow. That gave me an opportunity to switch on those circuits in my brain that let my body perform racetrack functions. Those include:

  • bending in a full armour racesuit
  • getting the mind up to speed to handle the blitz of bike control information
  • learning the curves and ripples of the track at the same time

In a couple of slower turns, the exit line was seriously marked with a wide stripe of rubber. Not my doing, that’s for sure!

There is something special about riding high-performance motorcycles on the track. Without the distraction of normal road traffic or the constant vigil for our police friends, it is much easier to concentrate on the task of improving one’s riding skill set. (In my case, I need all the improvement I can get!)

It’s a great moment when you suddenly slip into the “zone” and the rest of the world is a million miles away.

Inside my Suomy helmet, I hear myself think, “that’s right, I’m being paid to be here and wring out this bike.” A bug-eating grin spreads across my face, and even the fact that I just missed my brake marker doesn’t really matter. I know that some much better riders than me have been on this very same track, and may even have missed a marker or two themselves!

I finally return to the hot pit where a large Japanese contingent is waiting patiently. (see the photo here). I ask about those wide stripes of heavy wrist action; they tell me that the Yamaha MotoGP team were here the day before, testing some new engines and control systems. With the rubber laid that wide, there had to be some very sideways riding; I’m awestruck by the talent of those unknown pilots!

We spend a very full day riding seven new models, gaining an understanding of the reasons for changes and sampling new technologies in the pipeline.

I realize just how lucky I am to experience these things – it’s almost as great as watching delight on the faces of bike enthusiasts at shows back home when they first see these models for themselves.

What bikes did I ride in Japan? That’s a blog post for another day…!

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Industry Insights,Maintenance,Racing,Special Events,Sport,Yamaha Insights   
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December 4, 2007

Welcome from Bryan Fil

Hi, I’m Bryan Fil – “Woodzee” to my friends. (I was actually born as Woods, and the nickname stuck after I crashed into the woods in a downhill ski race and dislocated my hip.)

I’ve worked at Yamaha Canada since December 1999, currently as the General Services Coordinator in charge of fleet and property management. That basically means I maintain and supervise all our company vehicles and events trailers, and I’m responsible for anything that goes wrong in our buildingBryan Fil (except computers).

I like working at Yamaha because of the passionate people. Also, if I’m ever frustrated about something in my life, there’s always a new “toy” to check out. This always takes my mind off of the problem and all I think about is just riding. Sort of a reminder of why you’re working hard….so you can play later!

I currently own and ride a full race-ready 2006 YZF-R6, a 2002 YZFR6, and a 2003 YZF600.

My first bike ever was a 1989 RZ350, and I’ve owned a full race-ready 2000 YZF-R6, and a 2001 YZF-R6 (both I sold).

My hobbies include amateur road racing, watching road racing, wrenching on motorcycles, soccer, and spending time with my friends and family.

As a blogger, I think I can offer a good perspective as an active participant of track/lapping days and a licensed road racer – showing the highs and lows of this environment, from personal successes to hard failures.

I also ride as much as possible away from the track when family time permits, so maybe I can shed some light on that side of sport riding as well when I blog.

I expect there will be some crossover into the sport bike category, because of my street bikes, when I’m blogging.

And there might be the occasional post about other stuff – such as the ice racing I’m hoping to get into this winter, and the fact that my oldest son is getting to the age where he may be getting into dirt bikes (which means I need to get there, too!)

Bryan

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Authors,Racing,Sport   
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November 6, 2007

Welcome from John Bayliss

John BaylissHi, my name is John Bayliss, but you can call me JB. I’m the product manager for motorcycles and scooters at Yamaha Motor Canada Ltd. Welcome to the Yamaha Bike Blog!

One thing I would like to clear up right off the bat, is although I have been involved in the bike biz for many years (at Yamaha for 20 of them), I do not profess to know everything about motorcycles.

Unlike my snowmobile counterpart at Yamaha, Chris Reid, who blogs at Sled Talk, I don’t have an in-depth knowledge of all the technical aspects of our bikes and scooters. However, between me and my work colleagues also blogging here about bikes, we petty much do know everything about bikes – and what we don’t know, we want to hear from you about!

I am an avid on road and off road rider, plus I also dabble in track days. Most weekends (when I am not working), I usually spend at least a few hours riding or wrenching, especially restoring some vintage bikes of my own.

I own 10 motorcycles, ranging from street and dirt to a R6 track day bike. My fav ride right now is an ’07 Yamaha FZ1.

In the off-season, I can be found snowmobiling, skiing, and playing on the Yamaha hockey team.

I’m looking forward to sharing stories here that people can’t find anywhere else – such as behind-the-scenes peeks at Yamaha product development, long before the bikes hit the market. Hope you enjoy the insights!

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Authors,Dirt,Racing,Sport,Technology,trailer hitch,Yamaha Insights   
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November 1, 2007

Welcome to the Yamaha Canada Bike Blog

cr-0207.jpgHi, my name is Chris Reid and I am the Senior Product and Research Manager here at Yamaha Motor Canada. If you are also a ‘sled head’, you might know me as CR over on our sister blog, Sled Talk.

We have assembled a group of Yamaha Motor Canada employees who all love to ride and have some stories to tell. We hope you’ll check in often, and read what we have to say.

(As far as I know, Yamaha is the only motorsports company in Canada to host a blog where we interact with our friends and customers.)

If you have any questions or feedback for us, you’re welcome to add a comment and we’ll try to respond to as many as we can. There are some areas that we won’t be discussing (please see our Terms of Use) but for the most part, be nice and anything motorcycle-related goes!

If you like what you see, you can subscribe (enter email address on the right) and we’ll email you whenever we add a new post, or you can add Bike Blog to your list of RSS feeds. We’ll be populating the blog with a wide selection of content over the next few weeks and we’d love to hear what you have to say about it all.

I sincerely hope you enjoy Bike Blog and if you do, please let your friends know about us.

Cheers cr

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Posted @ 8:45 am in Commuting,Cruisers,Custom,Dirt,Industry Insights,Ladies Only,Maintenance,Racing,Scooters,Special Events,Sport,Technology,Travel Stories,Uncategorized,Yamaha Insights   
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